Artist and Antique Stylist, Soozy Lipsey
Behold the magical cabinet of curiosity of multi-media artist and antique stylist, Soozy Lipsey: A bell jar displaying a coin purse sprouting taxidermy bunny ears, a framed pair of spectacles with flowers in place of the glass, scissors with real human teeth, portraits of faces that cave inwards into infinity, and mundane objects framed alongside cheeky one liners recalling Magritte’s Treachery of Images. As an avid collector of antiques and time tarnished objects, Lipsey is merging together the world of fine art and antique in a way the creative world has never seen before. Her talent stems from her ability to reimagine ordinary objects into fantastical, uncanny creations imbued with a sense of nostalgia and distorted it into something strange and totally out of this world…and our time.
“I think most people can relate to a familiar object so that is my starting point of engaging people, and when it has been twisted and removed from it’s original meaning, people can still relate.”–Soozy Lipsey
Working across many mediums from sculpture to photographs, oil painting, collage, and a fascinating mix between them all; they are connected by a vein of dadaist anarchy humour… although Lipsey herself would be the first to tell you that she doesn’t conform to any particular art movement or genre. By bringing together the familiarity of repurposed objects with the unfamiliar by removing them from their original context through manipulation, Lipsey is playing with the innate seduction of the uncanny and with it pushes us to reaxamine the banality of our existence through the lens of such signifiers. The intrigue in her work is undeniable, Lipsey’s work exists outside time, trends and even categorisation.
After meeting Lipsey at The Other Art Fair, we were instantly entranced by her work and had to find out more about the mind that produced such singular creations. We met Lipsey in her London studio and this is what we unearthed…
“Whatever I have created, I am happy to embrace the gains and the losses as there is no ideal state, not even for the artist.”–Soozy Lipsey
CM: Where are you from?
I am from Glasgow originally and have been in London over 20 years.
CM: Your main inspirations?
My main inspiration is the human condition, and my ongoing angst to seek meaning and understanding of it all. The minute I stop asking questions is when I feel uninspired. I was wondering recently why it is that most people only ask artists what inspires them. Why don’t they ask their mothers, brothers, kids, and friends? I think artists are the most obvious people to ask… perhaps we all need to ask it more often to all kinds of people in our
lives… the answers will be just as interesting…
CM: Did you study art?
I studied art at Goldsmith university. Specifically fine art and textile. It was a confusing course; slightly sculptural and based on fine art. I always continued on the path of being an artist and went through so many phases.
CM: How do you make a living?
I have managed to stay alive when I left university. I went commercial for a while and got into doing illustrations for fashion brands for a bit. It was a very different style from what I do now. It is important to be versatile in all things in life.
I also started selling antiques [in London] at Spitalfield Market and at a unit in Brick Lane Market. I have been doing it for seven years. Thursday’s antique day.
“I’m a crap painter, but the medium of painting is just too wonderful, so I am determined to master it.”–Soozy Lipsey
CM: What materials do you use for your art?
I use a lot of old objects, and often. Like discarded or broken old photographs, toys, canvass, and prints. I am very interested in everyday objects that are familiar. I think most people can relate to a familiar object so that is my starting point of engaging people, and when it has been twisted and removed from it’s original meaning, people can still relate. I always want to build that initial bridge with people.
I have a huge box of old objects that I have been collecting over years that I delve into often. Sometimes, I have an idea first and then search for that object and sometimes the object inspires the idea. I love the latter more. I also use my beloved iMac and my camera and lately been having a go at painting. I would like to document a lot of my object-based work on canvass. I’m a crap painter, but the medium of painting is just too wonderful, so I am determined to master it.
“The minute I stop asking questions is when I feel uninspired.”–Soozy Lipsey
CM: What are your biggest aspirations in your career?
Everything has a price tag: success, mediocrity, commercialisation… so whatever I have created, I am happy to embrace the gains and the losses as there is no ideal state, not even for the artist. My main drive is to connect to people. I don’t want to be isolated in my own world, I am part of a society and it’s vital that I fit in someway. I guess I aspire to be both realistic and romantic about what it means to live and work as an artist, but that is a long discussion in itself, and a balancing act that is very hard to maintain.
CM: Would you attach yourself to any movement?
It is not that I don’t like to, but It is not something I think about it. I do like playing around.
CM: What triggered your journey to antiques?
It’s the hunt. I go to France sometimes; hard core with a bag and rucksack. It is about the hunt, about the find, you have to discover it. I have become such a good scanner as well. Antiques are expensive; you have to bargain and find the same things for much less.
I found my absolute love in that and in sculpture.
CM: Do you specialise in any era in particular?
No. Different types of mid-century furniture, art deco.
CM: Who are you clients?
Soho House, private celebrity clients, private art collectors.
CM: How and where do you sell your art?
Irregularly. It has been a strange past six months where I have not been so interested in it. I started to sell my art there [The Other Art Fair], because I want to make art accessible every day. I like the idea everyone can buy.
“It was quite painful as I love making work and lost my way into it. I wasn’t loving it in the same way so I let it go for a while.”– Soozy Lipsey
CM: Have you had a creative block?
I just let it go for a while… it was quite painful as I love making work and lost my way into it. I wasn’t loving it in the same way, so I let it go for a while. A friend of mine said you have to push through, and passion is not given, but you have to work through it… not sure I agree…
I did not stress. I was wondering if it was over, but it is okay, there are other things to do in life.
I did not used to question my art, now I think about it to evaluate its importance. When you grow older, things change, it was a real challenge to be ok with it. Let’s just roll with it.
CM: How do you escape your creative blocks?
I don’t know if you can escape. There is no escape other than accepting it.
CM: Are you ever 100% satisfied with your art work or do you feel you could work on it endlessly?
Yes I am often 100% satisfied… I think it is my job as an artist to know when to stop and finalise a piece. For me, I think that moment of commitment is very important. ‘Endless’ is a word I struggle with as it has no boundaries, and freedom is overrated in my opinion. Making a choice and sticking by it is important to me, the end
is the most important decision for me in the process.
CM: How does London inspire you?
London inspires me because it is tough and it is demanding on all my resources. It is a challenging city. It doesn’t entitle to you to much, which I think is a good thing. You got to work really hard for things in this city. I have also met so many amazing people in this city so it also really is about the relationships I have built over the years. I have a lot of Love here.
“Learn how to become a really good business person. Try also to be realistic, and not live too far in your own idealistic fantasises. […] Also, don’t ever listen to anyone else’s tips….especially mine…find your own.”–Soozy Lipsey
CM: Tips for young artists?
Learn how to become a really good business person. Try also to be realistic, and not live too far in your own idealistic fantasises.
And when you get copied, just let it go and come up with the next thing. Better to spend your time creating new ideas than chasing people on copyright/legal matters.
Also don’t ever listen to anyone else’s tips….especially mine…find your own.
CM: What’s next?
Look at the sculpture piece in the dome… Organic. It was made last minute for the show, and has a different playfulness compared to the other ones. I really enjoyed it. It is from my box of old sorts. They are some pieces I keep. It has no particular story. This shelve here holds the best and changes all the time.
I studied to be a psychotherapist briefly and studied a lot of Freud, so the ‘Case of Narcissist’ reflects that time.
CM: Favourite quotation?
‘Life can only be understood backwards,
but it must be lived forwards.’
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